What are the warning signs of an online scam?
Whilst every scammer might operate a little differently, there are a few warning signs to look out for whenever you’re doing anything online:
- Scammers tend to approach you, and they will often use some sort of convincing story about why they are contacting you. They may contact you regularly and use high pressure sales tactics, computer or tax problems or use urgency to convince you to take their bait.
- Scammers can play with your emotions, enlisting the thrill of a potential win, possibility of love, or fear of falling into arrears to trick you into taking action. They know just the right strings to pull.
- Scammers often use professional and official-looking websites and shopping sites to convince you they are legitimate. They are also extremely savvy at faking the logo and branding of larger companies such as the ATO, Australia Post or PayPal. When you receive an email you’re not expecting, always question whether it’s real or fake.
- Scammers may contact your mobile phone carrier and ‘port out’ your phone to a different carrier or SIM card. By doing this, they can take control of your mobile number and have security messages sent to your phone in an attempt to hijack your accounts. If your mobile phone stops working, or you receive advice from your provider that your number is being ported, this is a big warning sign.
- Scammers typically ask for money, whether immediately or after months of grooming. For payment, scammers may direct you to their nearest post office, a wire transfer service or any number of other payment methods, including direct bank transfers, pre-loaded debit cards, gift cards or virtual currency such as Bitcoin. A request for payment via an unusual method is often a sign of a scam.
- Scammers will often get your details incorrect. Be extremely cautious when you receive an email with your name misspelt.